In contrast to the bustling hubs of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Battambang is an unspoilt city which allows the visitor a glimpse of real Cambodian life. Set on the Sangker River, the town consists of a series of sleepy streets which offer a range of small shops, cafes, restaurants etc. Battambang is a safe place in which to walk or cycle where the visitor can happily while away a few hours absorbing local sights and sounds. There is little nightlife although some restaurants do offer occasional entertainment.
The area surrounding Battambang is certainly worth exploring. As well as seeing local people practising a range of authentic trades and crafts, the visitor can enjoy local food in a riverside location, discover unspoilt Khmer ruins and Buddhist temples, and ascend a local mountain (on foot or by motorcycle taxi) before marvelling at the vast gathering of bats outside the cave below as dusk approaches.
Located in a region where the Khmer Rouge were active during the Pol Pot era, the visitor to the Battambang area can experience the moving memorial at the Well of Shadows and learn at first-hand how the ordinary Cambodians suffered and survived during this period.
No visit to the city would be complete without a trip on the ‘Bamboo Train’, an entertaining journey through the local countryside where the traveller sits on a bamboo platform and is propelled along the old railway track. A step back in time which reflects the relaxed and gentle atmosphere of the whole city.